Guy Gerber: "EDM Is Horrible, But in the End, I Kind of Appreciate It"
It doesn't get much more one-dimensional than the modern popular music scene. Blame the Internet, marketers, the apathy or distraction of a generation, but things aren't like they used to be.
"Back in the day, people were more into exploring things," says Guy Gerber, an Israeli electronic producer more likely to name post-punk bands as influences than DJs.
He yearns for a time when love of music was more about personal discovery than pre-selected iTunes playlists.
"If it was by the Pixies, they have been influenced by Sonic Youth, who were influenced by Velvet Underground, and then you go and you move from one to another, and you're exploring," he says. "Music lost a little of its magic. Not the music, the tune, or the listening, but the culture part of it -- where these tracks come from, when they were written."
Of course, Gerber makes dance music, which lures and hooks listeners, he suggests, in a different way than rock or punk.
"How do you get into electronic music? You go to a party, you take drugs, and it blows your fucking mind."
Most EDMers are hooked because of a life-changing club experience, the kind nearly every fan can look back into his or her past and find. Perhaps some producers use that as an excuse to rely on formula, but Gerber is not one of them.
"There's always a story behind the track," he insists. "There was a moment. It wasn't just like 'I'm going to work on this single.' A friend was there, I was going through something, something happened. That's why artwork is very important. The name of the song is very important. It can't just be the name of food or drugs or your girlfriend. It has to have some substance."
See also: Five Worst EDM Gimmicks
Gerber is further frustrated by the monotonous nature of the club scene itself.
"Ibiza used to be a place about music, love, and freedom. It's cliché, but it's true," he says. "Not so long ago, the authorities put all these rules to stop the afterparties, but at the same time, a lot of money was injected in. It became a bigger war than before. It became a lot about marketing, but I felt a lot of these names were hollow."
He fights the formulaic approach of club owners by creating a private world in which to perform. His party concept, Wisdom of the Glove, is so over-the-top ridiculous -- with performers and projections and props -- that it becomes disruptive of the status quo.
"It's supposed to be creepy but magic. Everything is weird," he explains. "When you go to the party, in your mind, you're entering another realm. The context of everything happening there is under that umbrella of weird."
Gerber will bring Wisdom of the Glove to life with some help from his friends at South Beach's Story. He hopes to remind Miamians not to take themselves or the music too seriously, because dance music is different.
"It's not like when you go to a concert," he points out. "This is a party. The music has to be weird and hilarious."
For Gerber, the true spirit of dance music may be buried under too much marketing, but it's not dead. If we come together, the conceptual artists and the drug-fueled dancers, and meet on the floor under the "umbrella of weird," we can all have our fun.
"EDM is horrible. It sucks. It's ugly," he says. "These people dressed like ravers are fucking repulsive -- but it's hilarious. People are really putting up on themselves, like horrible colors, and they just go on to lose their minds. In the end, I kind of appreciate it."
Crossfade's Top Blogs
Guy Gerber Presents Wisdom of the Glove. With Visionquest's Ryan Crosson, Shaun Reeves, and Lee Curtiss. Saturday, July 5. Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. and tickets cost $30 to $40 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-538-2424 or visit storymiami.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.